Things are happening in the sister cities of Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota.
Situated in the upper Midwest, Fargo-Moorhead has a growing population of nearly 230,000. Founded as part of the nation’s expanding frontier, the cities grew with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Long an agricultural center, the region has also become a leader in science and technology.
“This area is hot right now, and I don’t mean the weather,” said Jill Halvorson, director of sales for the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau. She said that in the past, the usual reaction to a mention of Fargo would be a comment about cold winters or, perhaps, a reference to the eponymous movie and television show. But with North Dakota’s expanding economy and recent growth of the Fargo-Moorhead area, things today are different.
The bustling character of the two cities often surprises first-time visitors, Halvorson said. “They expect a sparse western locale, but it’s actually a busy place with plenty of people.” She points out that the metropolitan area, which covers as much square mileage as Boston, is located between two busy interstates.
“There are plenty of attributes that meeting planners will find attractive,” Halvorson said. She cited an abundance of meeting and hotel space along with the combined attractions of two cities that have blended together.
Holding a meeting in Fargo-Moorhead can be less costly than in many other cities. Halvorson cited Minneapolis, which is about three and a half hours away, as the area’s major competition, and said the Fargo area holds up well in comparison.
Especially attractive, according to Halvorson, is the way the cities have modernized while retaining much of their historical character. A recent trend is an emphasis on using rooftops of downtown buildings for everything from yoga classes to receptions. “Rooftops are popular now,” she said. “Many have been made into green areas and can be great for barbecues.”
The area also features plenty of outdoor attractions. “In the summer, it doesn’t get dark until almost 10,” Halvorson said. “That can be nice for ballgames or other outdoor activities.”
The Holiday Inn Fargo, with 310 guest rooms, offers 27,000 square feet of meeting space. An 11,000-square-foot great hall accommodates up to 1,400 people. The hotel’s 20 meeting spaces have capacities of 40 to 620. The Ramada Plaza and Suite’s 23,000 square feet of meeting space includes a 15,000-square-foot ballroom and a 5,000-square-foot symphony hall. Each can be divided into several sections. Six smaller rooms and an atrium have capacities of 18 to 600. Some 185 guest rooms are available. Meeting space at the Baymont Inn and Suites includes 10 rooms ranging from 400 to 8,700 square feet.